Transforming the Royal Albert Hall for the Responsible Business Awards Gala Dinner 2018

Read how one of the country’s most prestigious buildings will undergo its dramatic transformation to host this year’s Responsible Business Awards

On 3 July one of London’s most iconic buildings, The Royal Albert Hall, will open its doors to host Business in the Community’s 2018 Responsible Business Awards Gala Dinner. The greatly anticipated event will celebrate Responsible Business under the roof of the Grade I listed building, for an evening which will shine a light on the positive side of business.

Preparing for the big event
The Royal Albert Hall first opened in 1871, staging just 36 shows. Today it hosts almost 400 events every year, including the famous BBC Proms. In 2021 the venue will celebrate its landmark 150th year anniversary and to mark the occasion, the hall is excavating a two-story, double height basement to provide extra space for its artists, crew and promoters.

An incredible amount of work goes into getting the hall ready for an event such as the Gala in a very short space of time, as Freddie Huntington, Head of Production and Technical, explains. “The exhibition floor, which is used for the Gala, takes The Royal Albert Hall’s venue technicians and 80 crew, 24 hours to build. Once the floor is in, work starts on rigging sound. AV and lighting takes a further 10 hours, so the entire set-up takes 34 hours. As well as all of this, our catering partners, Rhubarb, install three satellite kitchens in the porches of the hall.

At the end of the night, the whole hall is cleaned and turned around overnight ready for the following day

- Freddie Huntington, Head of Production and Technical

A sustainable space
The venue is also taking steps to become more energy efficient, with two key initiatives which stretch its green credentials beyond the hall itself. These include The Arts Basket, an energy purchasing consortium, which allows the hall to buy energy in bulk at discounted rates. Led by the Royal Albert Hall in partnership with the National Theatre and Royal Opera House, it means smaller venues can access cheaper energy, and from an energy company that uses it revenue to invest in green energy.

The second initiative is called Julie’s Bicycle, which is a green energy consultancy group, specialising in the arts and entertainment sector. The Royal Albert Hall is a major supporter of the group.

In addition to this, the hall’s Victorian heating and cooling system has been replaced with a modern low temperature hot water system. And the show lighting in the auditorium has been replaced with significantly more efficient LED lights on the pillars in the gallery below the organ and on its roof  – reducing auditorium energy consumption by 80 per cent. The hall currently sends none of its waste to landfill – instead waste is either recycled or burned for energy – enough to power 6,575 showers per week according to Westminster Council.

So, it makes sense to host the Responsible Business Awards in not only an iconic, but also a responsible building, which is taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint with the green initiatives listed above.